In this era of sectarianism, religious and ethnic hatred seems to be gaining new grounds, especially in regions that were previously thought to be the benchmarks of democracy. It’s a predicament that many people, especially those who speak the Arabic language, have to deal with on a regular basis.
Despite being the liturgical language of billions of Muslims around the world, the Arabic language has often been associated with terrorism and jihadist groups like the al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Taliban and many others.
A lot of fear has been created around this language to a point where some countries are contemplating striking it out of their school curriculums.
But an Egyptian artist wants to change this misconception by simplifying the process of learning the Arabic language. Ghada Wali, a renowned Egyptian graphic designer, has created an Arabic typeface that helps young learners or foreign speakers to playfully build each Arabic alphabet using Lego bricks (toys developed by The Lego Company).
Her project, titled “Let’s Play”, gives users access to a pocketbook that enables them to learn different sounds of Arabic words while looking at the alphabetical words being built in their initial, medial and final forms.
Changing the World with Graphics
Speaking at the just-concluded TEDGlobal conference in Arusha, Tanzania, Wali revealed that the inspiration to develop the learning materials came from her desire to erase the fear around Arabic and ensure communities are more tolerant.
She added that she chose Lego toys because they already have a global appeal, which makes it easy for her project to reach her global audience.
“What’s more pure, innocent and fun as Lego? It’s a universal time story. You play with them. You build with them,” Wali was quoted by Quartz.
The renowned designer reiterated that the project is designed to offer endless learning opportunities to people who want to learn Arabic.
However, this is not her first project. Last year, she created the Hierolatin Typeface, which introduces hieroglyphics and Pharaonic iconography through Latin typography.
The prized graphic designer also explored the lettering styles in ancient Egyptian movie pictures with the aim of documenting the advancement of the creations and their typographic styles.
As a patriotic Egyptian, Wali has been working on different projects to help address the stereotypical, cultural, and religious misconceptions about Egypt and her citizens.
In 2015, Wali created a project titled “Meen Homma?” – An Arabic phrase for “Who are they?” The post-revolution, social awareness poster design editorial campaign went viral, provoking a nationwide debate about the misleading Egyptian and religious misconceptions.
Through these inspiring and educative projects, Wali believes she can use her skills in graphic design to transform the world.